Sunday, May 13, 2007

Harvard Admits Subway Plans as Part of Urban Ring

Bob La Trémouille reports:

Harvard has admitted to working for a privately beneficial, very expensive heavy rail subway which it wishes to be added to the state's Urban Ring subway plans. The subway would be a branch of the heavy rail Red Line project.

The apparent route is as follows: It would run from the existing Harvard Station east of Harvard Stadium and south of Harvard Business School. It would generally go under a new boulevard Harvard proposes for that location, apparently extending under the rail yards in Allston, then under the commuter rail which runs south of the Massachusetts Turnpike. It would turn at Park Drive and go underground to the Longwood / Harvard Medical Area, the location of Harvard Medical School.

There is a track location in place running from the Harvard Station bus tunnel to a location just west of Harvard's JFK School. The end of the tunnel is under a path way connecting JFK park to Elliot Street and the Harvard Square Hotel. This connected a temporary station to the red line during construction of the Alewife extension. Connection of that track to the existing red line is probably not possible without major changes to the existing Harvard Station lobby.

Thursday morning, May 12, Harvard's planning people met with staff and members of the board of Massachusetts' Metropolitan Area Planning Council in a public meeting in Harvard's Holyoke Center administration building in Harvard Square. The topic was Harvard's expansion plans for Allston. The meeting room was a room, the "Allston Room," dedicated to the Allston expansion. It is located on the first floor corridor of the building.

Harvard's official plans for their Allston campus can be seen at: This on-line presentation repeats a lot of things communicated at the meeting.

I was struck by one item which was not officially presented but which explains options, very expensive options, in the state consultants' developing Urban Ring proposals.

This is taken from their website. It is a good diagram of part of the Allston plans. Significantly omitted are their plans for the Allston rail yards which are located on the map marked "to LMA."

The route described at the beginning is my extrapolation of fine print in the consultants' options and of a map presented in the presentation.

I questioned Harvard's representative on the side. He was extremely candid about wishing a red line subway running from Harvard Square to Harvard Allston to Harvard Longwood.